First Advisor

Raj Solanki

Term of Graduation

Spring 2019

Date of Publication

Spring 6-10-2019

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Applied Physics






Electrochemical sensors, Fruit -- Postharvest technology, Ethylene, Food spoilage -- Prevention



Physical Description

1 online resource (viii, 147 pages)


The sensing needs for the fresh produce industry can be split into two primary stages: during maturation in the field, also referred to as Precision Farming, and during storage and transport of the produce, or Postharvest Storage. This work seeks to improve the accuracy and reliability of commercially available electrochemical and spectroscopic sensors tailored to the sensing needs of the fresh produce industry. For electrochemical sensing, this study proposes the use of an inline filter to remove polar organic compounds, which can interfere with the readings of a platinum-based electrochemical sensor. A 50% improvement in measurement accuracy was achieved when monitoring the storage headspace of a container of apples. For portable spectroscopy instruments, this study suggests improvements for the alignment of the optical bench and the spectral collect protocol. Methods to reduce the influence of environmental noise, such as variability of background light (sunlight in the field) and thermal effects on hardware performance, are presented. This study also presents the first report of the calibration transfer of spectral regressions developed with Karl Norris's Derivative Quotient Method. The motivation for this aspect of research was to develop methods to collect stable and accurate data in the field, which can be used to improve the quality of fresh produce reaching the customer and reduce premature food spoilage.


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